Thursday, January 24, 2013

The "P" Word

So as of this month, it is my 3 years sticking to my path of weight loss. I cried, I conquered, and I finally got to throw up victorious fist pump when the scale was finally reading the number I worked so hard to get too. Then, once I got to that number though, it stopped. The scale (give or take a few pounds every now again) stayed pretty much the same for about a year. I'd hit that dreaded 'p' word. (For dramatic effect, picture this being said in the voice of James Earl Jones) -- The PLATEAU.

I wasn't complaining too much about it because, after all, I'd reached my number. Then I made the decision that I could do better.

As I stated in my earlier post, I am an annoying label reader, but I wasn't actually adding up the calories. I consciously would add them up in my head, but lets face it, that doesn't work. So I downloaded an app on my phone called MyFitnessPal. You enter in all of your information and it will give you a calorie limit based on your lifestyle and how many pounds you want to lose in a certain amount of time. Mine was 1200.

So I started following the calorie guidelines, which was a bit of a challenge at first, but once you find a balance in what you are eating, it becomes a routine, then eventually, part of your life without you even having to think about it anymore. The app is handy too because you virtually type in any item from any restaurant, and it will be there. Each night when you log your total calories, it will give you the weight you should be at in a certain amount of time, given that you follow your daily calorie intake.

My husband finally decided to jump on the bandwagon with me. I was ecstatic! I finally have someone to annoy and coach. I didn't have anyone for me when I was starting this process. I learned a lot from watching The Biggest Loser, reading articles, reading other blogs, and eventually putting together my own pieces.

Now, I don't normally fall into the traps of pills and fads, but I recently heard about Dr. Oz's theory on the green coffee bean extract being a good jump start on weight loss. Apparently there was no jitters or anxiousness, which is what I was worried about, naturally being the most nervous person in history. So my husband and I decided to take it together as a "trial" run with it and see what happened.

At this point, (a Tuesday) he'd already been running a mile and half for 4 days and eating better. We started taking them on a Saturday. The following Tuesday (at this point for him, he'd run for 6 days, was eating good and taking 2 pills a day for 4 days), and had already lost 6 pounds. Unfortunately for me, I had to stop taking them on Tuesday because I got a case of winter flu going around and had to take antibiotics instead and didn't want to mix them. However, I followed my calorie intake (and was under) and did take the pills for 4 days. I got on the scale this morning, and much to my disbelief, I'd lost 5 pounds! I finally broke my plateau! Of course, I didn't believe it and had to weight myself 12 more times, but the number checked out and put on some clothes and skipped out of that bathroom like a ribbon dancer from this 1994 commercial.

(Edit: In case you were wondering, Ben and I did not feel any noticeable side effects from the green coffee pills - to clarify, I cannot pinpoint that the coffee pills had anything to do with the weight drop, but I will post an update on this after I complete my 15 days).

So, now that my husband and I had joined forces on the matter, dinner would be so much easier for me. It's hard to prepare somewhat healthy meals, when the other party in the house doesn't like it. But, to ease his man mind a little bit, I have been trying to make healthy meals, disguised as what would normally not be healthy at all.

Two websites I love for this are TasteofHome Healthy Recipes and Since I usually share a recipe with you, the one for this entry will be from

Cheesy Jalapeno Popper Baked Stuffed Chicken takes my winning vote today. I left out the bacon (Yes, you CAN eat bacon in moderation while dieting, I just chose to leave it out because quite frankly, I hate making it), but the chicken was amazing and low in calories. I will definitely be making this again!

That is where I leave you this time, friends.

Any comments, suggestions or website recommendations are welcome.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Pulled Beer Chicken & Geetars

I wanted to share a recipe with you that I found (probably on Pinterest) and can take no credit for. However, I definitely took bragging rights the night I made this delectable pulled chicken. If I hadn't known that it was chicken, I would have never known that it wasn't a good cut of pork. You can find this recipe here:

She used an amber beer, whereas, I used an American pale wheat ale called Gumballhead from Three Floyds Brewery in Munster, IN. You can use a little less beer then 8oz if you want too, only because when I made this recipe, it was a little TOO juicy to the point where it was almost disintegrating the bun while you were trying to eat it. So I would suggest using maybe a little under a can of a beer, but that is up to you. The beer was very distinctable among the other ingredients, so I wouldn't use a milk stout or a chocolaty beer.

Moving along, I'm not sure if you've read my past posts about my uncommon love for someone my age, with the Monkees. It sounds funny even saying it out loud, or typing it on the keyboard with my sausage fingers. To reiterate, despite their most popular era being the late 60's, that did not and still doesn't sway me in the least. I grew up normally. I had a My Little Ponies palace with a swimming pool, and played with Polly Pockets. I frequented in dumping Lego's on my floor and pulling the pants off of all of my Barbies. I also loved dinosaurs, my Sega, and my beanbag chairs. I just happened to also grow up with a father who explained a few things to me at an early age. Don't open doors for strangers, rap is crap, and the Beatles were the best band in history and always will be. I also learned every word to the Queen greatest hits album when I was a kid because that's what we listen too on our way to Yogi Bear Campground. Music has just been a part of growing up for me.

When I was about 8, around Christmas time, an extremely large object was being housed in our family room with a sheet over it. My dad told me it was a carousel horse for my mom like the one we would always see driving along Route 50. I believed it. Christmas came, and under that sheet was no carousel, but a piano--for me. I loved to belt out the most obnoxious of songs and thought I was a regular Beethoven. A few years later, my dad took me on a trip to Guitar Center and had me pick out a guitar. It was an acoustic Ovation, with a natural wood finish, and was the most beautiful thing I'd ever seen. He took me to guitar lessons and instead of teaching me notes, the instructor would just teach me Beatles songs. Looking back on it, I wish he'd actually had taught me notes, but it didn't matter to me, I was shredding my guitar with my 10 year old sausage fingers and loving every minute of it.

Shortly after this, I was watching (probably Nick at Nite at the time), and the Monkees came on. That was it. Just one episode of the Monkees is all it took and they became such an icon in my life. I would watch their shows and movies and learn different chords on my guitar from them. I was by far, the nerdiest kid ever.  They stuck with me into my adulthood, my guitar came with too. At one point, while struggling to pay bills, I considered selling my guitar and even got a quote on it, but then realized I'd rather be homeless then sell it. 

This last November (2012), I dragged Ben to a Monkees reunion tour after Davy passing away. I somehow managed to get 4th row pit seats, which I feel like I deserved. The pit only sat about 30 people, and was a section where the orchestra would sit normally. Ben and I sat right next to the small staircase up to the sage, which you can somewhat see in this terribly dark picture of us...

...but you can see how close we were. The seats wrapped around in a banana shape too, so although we were in the 4th row, we were only about 6 feet from the stage.

This was Mike...

And Micky during "Randy Scouse Git", which you can see on the big screen, is the original video for this. He put on the same thing he was wearing in the video.

The pictures don't even do this justice. There were a few times where Micky was so close to us, I could have reached out and shook his hand (which I was hoping for). I thought my arm was going to fly out of the socket when he asked for a 'guest singer' during Daydream Believer. I would have immediately overcome my fear of singing in front of people to have that opportunity.  That part was staged I believe though, because the 'guest' he picked (which happened to be the guy right in front of us), was just too calm up there. I guess it's good he didn't pick me, because I probably would have just stood there, starstruck, and cried. Ben would have had to come get me off the stage.

So overall, we left that night and I felt very accomplished. It was so amazing to see them (again) in person after so many times of only seeing them on TV, and not just from distance, but only a few feet away. Davy was missed, but they did a great job keeping him "in the show", by playing videos with him in it and having the band play along.  I got to see him in 98' too, so I've seen them all collectively. I sat in the nosebleed section at a Paul McCartney concert too when I was about 14, despite the seats--the fact that I got to see a remaining Beatle play Beatles songs was surreal to me. 

I am fully aware that I was not born in the 50s, and I am a "90's kid". Of course, I broke away from my wannabe hippie life to enjoy the fine fruits of my own time. The Backstreet Boys, Mariah Carey, Nintendo 64 (particularly, Wave Race and Mario 64), and "hanging out" with friends, because "playing" with friends was lame after you hit 12.

But they always stuck with me.